Sojourner Truth Addresses the Women’s Rights Convention of 1851 at Akron, Ohio

The Women’s Rights Convention of 1851 at Akron, Ohio was one of the numerous events throughout 19thcentury United States for the extended rights of women. Numerous advocates delivered speeches at this Convention however it is best known as the venue for a former slave Sojourner Truth’s address, later popularized as “Ain’t I a Woman.”

Born in 1757 as Isabella Baumfree as a slave in the Dutch-speaking Ulster County, New York, she was bought and sold into slavery four times and forced to marry a slave with whom she had five children. She was emancipated in 1827 and renamed herself Sojourner Truth in 1843 post which she became an itinerant speaker. She met abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas who encouraged her to give speeches about the evils of slavery. She also joined forces with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthonyfor Women’s Suffrage Movement in the United States. Although she never learnt to read or write, she was a woman of uncommon courage. In her extemporaneous speech, she took a stance for the suffrage rights of women. She not only questioned the white man’s privilege and argued for women’s suffrage rights but also shed light on the additional challenges facing Black community especially Black women. Even though the Ohio Constitution of 1851 ultimately denied women the right to vote, several versions of Truth’s address which begin with the audience dissing her and concluded with a standing ovation from the same audience, definitely popularized as one of the greatest orators in the 19th century for the rights of women.

Works Cited:

"A Nation Being Redefined, 1975-2000 / Equal Rights Amendment / Women's Rights Convention of 1851." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 29 May 2013.

 “Sojourner Truth.” Sojourner Truth - Ohio History Central, 

 “Sojourner Truth.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,


Associated Place(s)

Event date:

29 May 1851